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Sophia Shah
Poetry for Kids
Sophia Shah, author
Sophia has been a prolific storyteller since the time she learned to talk. As she got older that love of storytelling soon transpired into writing short stories. With her vivid imagination she can create and tell stories or narratives in an impromptu style. When she was 6years old she joined an after-school poetry club and that is where she wrote her very first poem titled “The Old Lady”. That marked the beginning of a series of poems that she later authored over the course of the 2years of pandemic. The poems showcase her passion, curiosity, and point of view on topics she had an opportunity to reflect on in the void, loneliness, and isolation of COVID. Sophia also lost her grandmother to cancer during COVID, and she wanted to create a collection of poems as a tribute to her grandmother. Sophia is a thoughtful observer of the world around her and often questions and contemplates deeply about themes that speak to her. Her poems in the collection are inspired by nature, human life, diversity, loss, grief, hardships, and challenges and standing up for what is right. As a person of color, Sophia believes everyone is unique and that uniqueness is there to be welcomed and celebrated. With her strong sense of right vs wrong she always strives to voice her ideas and perspectives to make a difference. While she wants her readers to experience joy, happiness, and curiosity through her writing; at times she just wants them to pause, absorb and reflect.
Nine-year-old Shah’s insightful book of poetry for young readers offers a fresh perspective on nature, home, and diversity that other children will find enjoyable and relatable. One of her favorite subjects is her family’s lakeside residence, where she artfully and invitingly observes the weather, the animals, and the changing seasons: “I see my breath in the air / The boats blow their horns./ My Big Blue mansion / Seagulls Squawking music to my ears. / This is where I belong.” She also writes passionately and with impressive maturity about the importance of promoting equity and inclusion, stating, “Your culture and your heritage define part of you but does not limit you.”

First and foremost, Shah’s poems are a sensory treat, clearly describing the sounds, smells, and textures that surround her—the cold wind stinging her cheeks in the fall, the scent of lavender on the breeze in the spring, the feeling of smooth blades of grass beneath her fingertips. She also demonstrates her compassion and preternatural wisdom through heartfelt verses that delve into more difficult subjects, such as the rapid passage of time and overcoming depression. In this way, these poems will encourage kids and adults to slow down and appreciate the world around them—and maybe open up about challenging feelings of their own.

Occasional repetition, as in the concluding stanza “The home / Home, Home / Home is Home,” suggest that perhaps these are best read aloud, though they also serve as a reminder that writing poetry need not be intimidating. The poems are lovingly illustrated by Shah’s grandfather, Nandkumar Parab. His colorful sketches effectively capture the essence of each verse: a poem about the power of being female is accompanied by a grinning, dark-haired girl about Shah’s age, and a verse celebrating a perfect day at the marina shows boats on the water with mountain peaks and seagulls in the background. Ultimately these poems written by a kid, for kids, will inspire other young people to look around, consider their own surroundings, and perhaps pick up their pens.

Takeaway: A nine-year-old’s poems on nature, home, and diversity.

Comparable Titles: Naomi Shihab Nye’s Salting the Ocean, Kwame Alexander’s How to Write a Poem.

Production grades
Cover: B+
Design and typography: B+
Illustrations: A
Editing: B
Marketing copy: A